July 14, 2008

"As If I Am Not Human"

Abuses against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia

I. Summary
Legal Framework and Recruitment Practices
Abuses against Domestic Workers
Poor Redress Mechanisms
Key Recommendations to the Government of Saudi Arabia
Key Recommendations to the Governments of Migrants' Countries of Origin (including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal)
II. Methodology
III. Asian Women's Labor Migration to Saudi Arabia
Asian Women's Status and Reasons for Migration
Women's Status in Saudi Arabia
Scale of Abuses
IV. Legal Framework for Migrant Domestic Workers
Exclusion from Labor Laws
The Kafala System..
Employment Contracts and Recruitment Practices
International Agreements
Recent Reforms
V. Forced Labor, Trafficking, Slavery, and Slavery-like Conditions
Forced Labor
Slavery and Slavery-like Conditions
VI. Recruitment and Immigration-related Abuses, and Forced Confinement
Abuses by Recruitment Agents in Labor-sending Countries
Abuses by Recruitment Agents in Saudi Arabia
Confinement by Employers
VII. Psychological, Physical, and Sexual Abuse
Psychological and Verbal Abuse
Physical Abuse
Food Deprivation
Sexual Harassment and Abuse
VIII. Labor Abuses and Exploitation
Low and Unequal Wages
Unpaid Wages and Salary Deductions
Excessive Workload, Long Working Hours, Lack of Rest Periods
Inadequate Living Accommodation
IX. Criminal Cases Against Domestic Workers
Procedural Violations
Countercharges of Theft, Witchcraft, or False Allegations
"Moral" Crimes
X. Saudi Protection Measures and Gaps
Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) Center for Domestic Workers
Repatriation of Migrants' Remains106
The Criminal Justice System.. 107
XI. Labor-sending Countries' Protection Measures and Gaps113
Constraints to Working in Saudi Arabia114
Lack of Resources and Uneven Response116
Arbitration of Labor Disputes by Foreign Missions120
XII. Detailed Recommendations124
To the Government of Saudi Arabia124
To the Governments of Migrants' Countries of Origin (including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal)128
To All Governments130
To the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)131
To Donors such as the World Bank and Private Foundations131